Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 2, 2008
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Swapped through Paperbackswap.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
“Through the lens of Link’s vivid imagination, nothing is what it seems, and everything deserves a second look. From the multiple award-winning “The Faery Handbag” in which a teenager’s grandmother carries an entire village (or is it a man-eating dog?) in her handbag, to the near-future of “The Surfer” whose narrator (a soccer-playing skeptic) waits with a planeload of refugees for the aliens to arrive, Link’s stories are funny and full of unexpected insights and skewed perspectives on the world.”
This was a collection of nine stories by Link. Some of them were really good and some were just so-so. Like most short story collections there is a lot of variability. My favorites were “The Faery Handbag” and “The Constable of Abal”. You can see a short description of the stories in this collection and what I thought about them below.
Overall it was a decent collection of short stories. While it’s not a great collection of short stories there are some neat ideas in here. Link’s writing style is very unique and if you are a Kelly Link fan I think you will enjoy this collection of stories. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of Link’s writing style; it was a bit too stark for me.
“The Wrong Grave” (3/5 stars)
This is the story about a teenage boy who digs up his girlfriend’s grave to retrieve some of his old poetry and ends up digging up the wrong girl. The ending was a bit confusing and also a bit ironic. It was okay.
“The Wizards of Perfil” (4/5 stars)
This was a longer story about a young woman who gets sold off by her parents to the Wizards of Perfil. As war approaches she is frustrated by the wizards lack of action. This was an interesting story and well written. I liked the twist at the end, even though it was a bit predictable.
“Magic For Beginners” (4/5 stars)
This was a strange and rambling story about a boy living in a TV episode called the Library who is obsessed with a TV show called the Library. In this episode of the Library Jeremy has to save a character in his version of the Library from dying. It’s a bit hard to follow but ended up being an interested if somewhat twisted story. I ended up enjoying it.
“The Faery Handbag” (5/5 stars)
I really loved this story about a girl who is supposed to find and keep track of her grandmother’s handbag. Supposedly her grandmother’s handbag contains a whole town of people and when the heroines boyfriend disappears into the handbag she is determined to get him back. This is a fun and imaginative story and was one of the most cohesive stories of this collection so far.
“The Specialist’s Hat” (3/5 stars)
A quick story about two young girls who have a strange babysitter. This was an okay story about ghosts and a creepy hat. It was pretty short and a bit difficult to tell what happened in the end.
“Monster” (3/5 stars)
This story took place at a camp where some goes go out for an overnight hike and are terrorized by a monster…kind of. It was okay but again a bit ambiguous and confusing about what was going on.
“The Surfer” (3/5 stars)
There was some good world-building in this short story. It takes place in a future Earth that’s plagued with influenza outbreaks. Our protagonist is kidnapped by his father who is taking him to go see aliens when they are quarantined in Costa Rica during a flu outbreak. What’s follows is a lot of soccer playing in an airplant hanger, a bit of irony, and a very open ending. It was okay but again not a lot of point.
“The Constable of Abal” (5/5 stars)
I enjoyed this story a lot. This is about a girl and her mother who help people collect ghosts as pets, taking advantage of both the money people are willing to pay the ghosts and the ghosts themselves.. Then the girls mother has a change of heart and moves to a town of Gods. There her mother tries to be devout and is frantically looking for something. I loved the ending and thought some elements of the story were intriguing (at one point the girl is able to turn herself into a boy and then back into a girl again). I thought it was very creative and really loved it.
“Pretty Monsters” (4/5 stars)
This was an interesting story that was really two stories woven together and then those were woven under a third story. The main story is about some girls who are taking one of their girlfriends out for her Ordeal (kind of like hazing). One of the girls involved in planning the Ordeal is reading a YA paranormal romance novel and half of the story is the story she is reading. There is an additional twist at the end. It was a creative way to structure and story but was still a bit confusing; some of the ideas here could have been communicated better. I ended up liking it.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– Mount TBR Reading Challenge
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
– Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge
– Paranormal Reading Challenge
– YA Reading Challenge